The Players Championship
Call it what you will, the “5th” major, The Players…….. Regardless of the name, it attracts an all-star cast on a track that has thrown up its fair share of obscure winners as well as big name champions. History tells us that the winner is equally likely to be in the class of Tiger Woods or Craig Perks.
Since 2006, the course has undergone a major reworking of its irrigation and complex undersoil air filtration gubbins! Given the nature of the course it doesn’t especially favour one player over another. The greens will firm up throughout the week and there may be a slight hint towards an early first round start being beneficial. The last few years have proven that a strong showing in the first round is a must.
It’s been a really tough week to narrow things down, and there are certainly some head-turning odds for players who could easily get hot. Though we aren’t going as far as backing them here’s a list of some that will grab your attention; Andy Sullivan 200/1, Soren Kjeldsen 200/1, KJ Choi 225/1 and Bernhard Langer 500/1!
Justin Rose 28/1 – Stake £10 e/w Potential return £370
Rose has been swinging beautifully for a little while now, and seems more confident in his short game than when he went into The Master with what he called a “shocking” short game, only to finish inside the top 10. Last week saw him run even closer in third and though he may not have proven it previously, he should have every confidence around this Pete Dye layout that will reward his strong iron play.
Sergio Garcia 33/1 – Stake £10 e/w Potential return £3432.50
If there were a horse for this course then Sergio is he. Nine top 10’s here, including two victories and a playoff loss last year. He is pretty tasty around here and even before we saw the odds, was a man we were backing all day long.
Branden Grace 40/1 – Stake £10 e/w Potential return £520
Grace should be refreshed after a short break having recently won on the Pete Dye designed Harbour Town. He’s shown on a number of occasions that he is capable of mixing it with the very best, most notably when he narrowly missed out last year at Chambers Bay. He’s ranked 11th in the world, so these odds are somewhat mystifying given his recent form and his unbelievable scrambling ability.
Kevin Na 80/1 – Stake £10 e/w Potential return £1020
This tournament has a habit of throwing up guys who were considered nearly men. Think Sergio and last year’s winner, Rickie Fowler. Na is a superb driver of the ball and his improved form is reflected in him lying 8th in the Fedex points. He’s playing some really solid golf these days and has come a long way from those full swing yips he had a few years back. Factor in 2 top 10’s in the last 3 years at Sawgrass and the case is made.
Luke Donald 125/1 – Stake £5 e/w Potential return £791.25
Back when Luke was among the upper echelons of the game, he was a regular in contention here and you’d expect him to be pretty comfortable around this course with any sort of confidence behind him. Well, he should have plenty of that given his recent revival. He’s almost become a forgotten man, and will be keen to prove a few doubters that he can once again contend with the big boys.
Matthew Fitpatrick 150/1 – Stake £5 e/w Potential return £791.25
If anyone was unsure of the young Yorkshireman’s pedigree then he will have left them in no doubt after his awesome showing at The Masters. This kid is the real deal, and he’ll be looking to lock up the Ryder Cup spot that has surely got his name on it. These are really great odds for a guy who is capable of playing the very best golf.